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Test Tiles - How Creative Do You Get?

test tiles bisque glaze testing

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#1 ChenowethArts

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:06 AM

For me, it is generally the simpler, faster, the better when it comes to throwing a wide, bottomless ring and then pulling up the side 4" (or so)...then slicing the ring into stand-up test pieces.  But then again, I discovered the work of Gary Jackson from Chicago http://firewhenreadypottery.com/ who make his test tiles using the same stamps and textures that he uses on his production work...and to me, they are nice pieces of work in/of themselves.

I realize there is practical thought in Gary's approach, getting a much better idea of how his glazes will act...but I am seriously impressed with the quality, detail, and care that he takes.

Are you doing something different/creative with your test tiles?  Is there a clay person you know who is knocking it out of the park when it comes to glaze testing ideas?

 

Test tiles by Gary Jackson:

 

gary_jackson_test_sm.jpgfirewhenreadypottery_numbered_sm1.jpg

 

 


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#2 Pres

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:46 AM

I like to do mine similar to this, however I do something a little different. I put a sharp score at the bottom where the flange goes into the straight.  After glaze firing, I put it into a vice and tap off the flange leaving me with a flat tile for on the wall or a board.

 

At school I used to have the kids roll out a flat tile, texture and add a stripe of slip or underglaze and then do a single and double dip. When 10 students are required to do 3 test tile of 3 glazes each semester you really understand what will happen with the glaze as a teacher. My ceramics 2's had to do test tiles in this manner.


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#3 neilestrick

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:46 AM

For running glaze tests, I keep mine super simple, like you do with the cut up ring. I don't do texture work on my pots, so I don't worry about that. For the glaze tile board that shows all the double dipping combinations of the 14 class glazes, we use square extruded tiles, since they hang nicely on a nail. For those we do cut a few texture lines into one side of the tile. And now that I have a lot of students doing underglaze and carving work, I will probably start adding a stripe of black underglaze to the tiles when new glazes are added to the board.

 

Attached File  Tile-Board.jpg   224.91KB   3 downloadsAttached File  Tile-Board-Detail.jpg   234.91KB   1 downloads


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#4 Chris Throws Pots

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:05 PM

I made a test tile wall for my community studio using small bowls thrown off the hump. They are all paddled flat on one side so they sit flush against the wall. They also all have texture made with a fork on one section (inside and out). Glazes can behave differently on the inside and outside of the same form, so I see using bowls as a big advantage in this department. The bowls also do a great job communicating the way a glaze/glaze combo breaks on rim. The downside is that the bowls collect dust, so it needs to be cleaned more frequently than our old board with traditional extruded tiles.

 

The grid on the left is with our white body; on the right our red body. We keep 12 stock, house glazes that are all numbered. We also mix two rotating glazes to keep things fresh. These all have laminated tags velcroed to the wall beneath them.

 

Here's she is:

Attached File  Test Tile Wall.jpeg   167.24KB   5 downloads


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#5 Babs

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 05:25 PM

I made a test tile wall for my community studio using small bowls thrown off the hump. They are all paddled flat on one side so they sit flush against the wall. They also all have texture made with a fork on one section (inside and out). Glazes can behave differently on the inside and outside of the same form, so I see using bowls as a big advantage in this department. The bowls also do a great job communicating the way a glaze/glaze combo breaks on rim. The downside is that the bowls collect dust, so it needs to be cleaned more frequently than our old board with traditional extruded tiles.

 

The grid on the left is with our white body; on the right our red body. We keep 12 stock, house glazes that are all numbered. We also mix two rotating glazes to keep things fresh. These all have laminated tags velcroed to the wall beneath them.

 

Here's she is:

attachicon.gifTest Tile Wall.jpeg

Cool, can see them with tealights in them!



#6 Bob Coyle

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 08:02 PM

I always paint a horizontal line with black slit on the test tile before I glaze it and then paint another line at a 30 degree angle on the top after I glaze it. This allows me to see how transparent the glaze  is and also to see how much it sags when fired.

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#7 ChenowethArts

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 05:47 AM

Thanks to Pres, Neil, Chris, Bob...always good to hear new/creative twists.

I watched John Britt's video this morning from the CAD site...his is more "How To", but still includes a few things that I had not considered.  If I do this right (drum roll please), the video will display below. If not, you can watch it on YouTube here.


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#8 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 02:57 PM

Love the idea, going to try it out now! My test tiles usually consist of two small slabs stuck together badly. I am yet to put much effort in.

 

Good idea Bob with the line, might start doing that.



#9 Babs

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:18 PM

Thanks Chenoweth.



#10 Benzine

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:01 PM

My tiles, are terribly "unfancy".  The couple I've made over the years, for my classrooms, are just some two, by two inch tiles, with a hole in them, so they can be hung on a board.  I have a number carved in, that corresponds to a glaze bottle.  I fire all the tiles flat, which for most of the glazes, doesn't greatly affect the way they turn out. 

 

I plan to make some more "stand up" type tiles, when I begin mixing my own glazes at home. 

 

This topic reminds me a bit of when I was taking Ceramics in college.  A couple of my classmates, were taking a Glaze/ Clay Calculation class, as well.  When they were making their test tiles, they were shown, to use thrown tiles.  Even those students, who were fairly capable, got sick of it.  Somehow, one of the students came up with the extruder dye idea.  To them, it was the best invention ever!  There were a few trips, down to the sculpture shop, to use the saws to cut out more of the dyes.

I thought it was amusing, but wish I could have taken the class, in hindsight.  It was difficult to get into though, as it was only offered occasionally. 


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#11 ChenowethArts

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 05:52 AM


This topic reminds me a bit of when I was taking Ceramics in college.  A couple of my classmates, were taking a Glaze/ Clay Calculation class, as well.  When they were making their test tiles, they were shown, to use thrown tiles.  Even those students, who were fairly capable, got sick of it.  Somehow, one of the students came up with the extruder dye idea.  To them, it was the best invention ever!  There were a few trips, down to the sculpture shop, to use the saws to cut out more of the dyes.

I thought it was amusing, but wish I could have taken the class, in hindsight.  It was difficult to get into though, as it was only offered occasionally. 

 

Benzine,
I had not really considered the extruder-dye idea until I began digging around to see what other people are doing.  Evidently, it is a popular approach, especially for those with access to an extruder. From the Big Ceramic Store web site's page about Glaze Tests and Tiles, check out the last paragraph...they prefer/endorse the extruder method (and the fact that they sell extruders might have some influence ^_^ )...but I thought it was interesting.


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#12 clay lover

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:03 AM

I extrude 1" square , long tubes, out of dark clay, brush 2 sides of it with white slip enough to cover all the brown, cut them in 3" sections, stamp a texture on opposite sides and put a hole in one top edge and a number on it.  That way I get 2 colors with one test.  adding the black stripe is a good idea.  will start doing that..

If I like the glaze, then I put it on a small pot several times before I use it on something important.



#13 Pres

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:05 AM

Clay lover, I used to make some smaller square tubes with the Bailey at school. We would cut them into 4 inch leather hard lengths. We usually stamped a texture on, then I would bevel the top at 45 degrees and put a whole in the high part in back so that I could easily screw it on to a wall board.


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#14 Denice

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:27 AM

I have made standard thrown test tiles, flat test tiles, round pinched tiles, this week I am making some custom ones.  I am putting a large mural into the drying cabinet and starting on the test tiles for it.  I will put the same textures on the tiles that the mural has such as braided hair, leaves, stucco, I plan to make 6 tiles of each texture.  I have an idea what glazes I want to use but I need them to test perfect a couple of times before I glaze.  Denice







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